Failure is painful, heartbreaking, and, a lot of times, embarrassing. However, failure is also inevitable, especially for those pursuing success.
The easiest way to avoid failure is to stay mediocre. Success is risky, but normalcy isn’t. Avoiding failure is as easy as staying within your comfort zone and shying away from challenges. Success, on the other hand is much more difficult; there are so many things you need to sacrifice–time, relationships, hobbies, etc.–in order to become truly successful. The road to greatness isn’t for the faint of heart.
That said, it takes a strong person to succeed. One must be willing to endure what others aren’t to achieve what others can’t. Some of the greatest people who ever lived were once failures themselves: Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team; Oprah was rejected by a local TV station; John Paul DeJoria (of Paul Mitchell fame) was once homeless; Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college. The list goes on and on.
Not even the most successful people are immune to failure. One way or another, we will all fail. The key to success is to keep going.
Here are some of the reasons failure is essential to success:
Even people as brilliant as Peter Loftin have had their own setbacks. Try not to see failure as an end in itself but as a means to more experience.
Failure can be rich in lessons. When a reporter asked Thomas Edison what it was like to fail 10,000 times, he simply replied, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
Approach failure with the same optimism as Edison. Setbacks are a great opportunity to pick up experience and learn more about yourself and the world. Make you failures count by (1) studying what went wrong and (2) taking note of what you can improve on.
Treat failure like a teacher instead of an executioner. After all, it isn’t the end of the world.
Failing teaches resilience. People who are able to cope with failure are better prepared for future challenges.
When babies learn how to walk, they trip and fall flat on their faces. But that doesn’t stop them from trying. No matter how many times you fall, dust yourself off and get back up. Better yet, ask people who have been there before. Successful people are often eager to give back. The telecom mogul Peter Loftin once said: “I like being successful. Giving back is only a part of that.”
Put failure in perspective and view it as training. If you fail today, just make a commitment to return stronger tomorrow. Reach out to people. Soon, you’ll realize that life doesn’t get much easier; you only get stronger along the way.
It’s okay to fail, but it’s never okay to give up. Every human being goes through a process of maturity and growth, which is often involves failure.
Use failure as fuel for growth. It’s all a matter of perspective: if you view failure as final, you’ll be disappointed in yourself; but, if you view failure as an opportunity to grow, you can move forward with more maturity and better perspective.
Everybody fails. If you’re bogged down by your shortcomings, don’t worry, you’re in good company. The key to overcoming failure is developing a healthy mindset. Treat failure as an opportunity for experience, resilience, and growth.